A winner of a stage in the Volta a Catalunya this season and past winner of a stage in the Tour de France, Pantano was kept from racing the Vuelta a España after being diagnosed with a toxoplasmosis infection. Although his return to racing this season is uncertain, Pantano was pleased to ink a new contract.
"I am really happy to stay two more years with Trek-Segafredo, a team that is very special for me," Pantano said in a press release. "I had been dreaming to join them since I was a kid and the past two years have given me everything I had expected and more. So in the next years, I want to keep going for it and give it my all for a team that I have so close to my heart. I hope that I can still bring a lot of great results. "
"Unfortunately this year, things still haven't turned out the way the team and I wanted and expected, but I am sure and confident that there are still better years and things to come."
Pantano will be joined by newcomer Richie Porte in 2019, along with other new signings Will Clarke, Alex Kirsch, and fellow Colombian Ivan Sosa.
UAE Team Emirates signs Bohli
UAE Team Emirates have signed Swiss time trial specialist Tom Bohli for two seasons. The 24-year-old moves across after turning professional with the BMC Racing Team in 2015 and remaining with the squad for four seasons.
"I'm excited about my move to UAE Team Emirates," Bohli said in a press release. "For the first time in my career I'm changing jerseys, joining a sports group that's quite different than the one I grew up in. I know I'm going to find a highly professional atmosphere founded upon an important project; I'm sure the conditions will be perfect for me to give my best".
Bohli is expected to be a key helper for Alexander Kristoff, and to continue to pursue results in prologues, such as the one he won in the Driedaagse van West Vlaanderen in 2016, his only victory to date.
Portuguese climber Amaro Antunes to CCC
Continuum Sports, owners of the former BMC/new CCC squad have announced the signing of Portuguese climber Amaro Antunes, who is part of the current CCC Sprandi Polkowice squad.
The 27-year-old won a stage of the Volta ao Algarve last season, and finished fifth overall in the 2.HC race. This year he has won the Tour of Malopolska, and a stage of the Sibu Tour, and was second at the Giro dell'Appennino in his first season with the Pro Continental outfit.
"We are excited to welcome Amaro Antunes to Continuum Sports," General Manager Jim Ochowicz said. "Amaro is one of the biggest talents to come out of Portugal and will be the first Portuguese rider to race with Continuum Sports in the history of the team. Although this is his first season at the Professional Continental level, Amaro has already impressed in the past few years with some solid results against WorldTour riders. We feel we can continue to develop Amaro's raw talent and help him to reach his potential."
Ventoso extends as CCC road captain
Continuum Sports also confirmed that Fran Ventoso has extended his contract and so will ride for the new CCC team that will rise from the ashes of the BMC Racing squad after a merger with the CCC Sprandi Professional Continental team.
36 year-old Ventoso has raced for 15 seasons and was Spanish national champion in 2012. He will again have a road captain role at the new CCC team in 2019.
The team have also signed Serge Pauwels from Dimension Data, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck from Wanty Groupe Gobert, 22-year-old American Will Barta from Hagens Berman Axeon but, after a long period with no sponsor in place, they have lost a raft of riders, including Richie Porte, Rohan Dennis, Dylan Teuns, Tejay van Garderen, Stefan Kung, Damiano Caruso and Alberto Bettiol.
Greg van Avermaet will lead the team and manager Jim Ochowicz confirmed that the new-look team will target the Classics and shorter stage races in 2019 rather than Grand Tours.
"We will see some changes with CCC as the new title sponsor and new riders coming to the team, but the structure will more or less be the same and I am excited to see what the team will look like in 2019,” Ventoso said.
“I was part of the team in the fantastic spring classics season in 2017 and although it's really difficult to repeat this kind of success, this is the ambition and goal for me to be there again to support Greg Van Avermaet and the team in the best races of the season.”